Safe Temporary Hair Color Products for Dogs

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Only dogs with white or very light hair can be colored.
Only dogs with white or very light hair can be colored. (Image: Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Coloring dog's hair has become a novelty, especially during holidays and celebrations, and although some frown on the practice, dogs can be colored safely. Temporary coloring lasts from a few days, up to a week, depending on the dye used and how many times the dog is washed. There are safe temporary dyes for dogs available on the market, or some household products may also be used.

Safety Considerations

Most dog hair dye products fall under the watchful eyes of the Personal Care Products Council, or PCPC (formerly the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association or CTFA). This agency sets safety standards within the cosmetics industry and also recommends certain pet products. When purchasing commercially produced dog hair dye, be sure it meets PCPC standards, identified on the product label. Certain human products may be toxic to pets.

Household Coloring

Two household products considered safe for pet hair coloring are powdered drink mixes and plain food coloring. According to Vetinfo, powdered drink mixes and food coloring are approved for food use, making them safe for use on dogs. A problem may arise due to an individual dog's skin sensitivity, so applying a small amount on the dog to check for a reaction is suggested. Unsweetened drink mixes should only be used, and can be sprayed, sponged or poured on the dog. These dyes usually come off in a few washes.

Gels

A popular product specifically designed for safe, temporary pet hair coloring is sold in gel form and comes in a variety of colors, including: Tuxedo black, screaming pink, magic purple and monster green, among many others. Most are approved by the CPCP (formerly CTFA) and are normally sold in 4 oz. jars. Gel dyes last from four to six washes.

Human Hair Products

The majority of human hair coloring products are not safe for pet use. Most contain peroxide and bleaching agents harmful to pets. However, there are vegetable-based hair coloring products considered safe for pet use. These products can be watered down and sprayed on the dog. Be sure to never use a product containing hydrogen peroxide or a bleaching agent that may cause chemical burns.

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